This Land/Our Land: Exploring immigration with young musicians

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What role does music play in our national dialogue about immigration?

Six young musicians, rooted in six different countries, gathered at Ellis Island, and in Manhattan, to explore that question in a new composition inspired by Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land.” 

Immigrants themselves, or from immigrant families, the performers, ranging in age from 11 to 24, are all alumni of our radio program, NPR’s From the Top with Host Christopher O’Riley 

The idea came from O’Riley, who combined the national anthems of the six young musicians into a multi-voiced mashup called “This Land/Our Land.” Themes from the anthems of Bulgaria, South Korea, Mexico, Ukraine, Bolivia, and Iran ultimately resolve into a soaring arrangement of the Guthrie classic. 

“I felt this would be a clear vision of what immigrant culture is contributing to our American lives – culturally, emotionally, moment-to-moment,” O’Riley says. 

This Land/Our Land arranged by Christopher O’Riley 
From the original “This Land Is Your Land”
Written by Woody Guthrie
Published by TRO – Ludlow Music, Inc. (BMI)/Woody Guthrie

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MORE INFORMATION

We interviewed Bella, Javier, Jiji, Oscar, Amir, and Mariya while in New York. Hear their immigrant stories and more by clicking on their names.

Q&A with Christopher O’Riley

Photo album

Learn more about the musicians below.  

Performers

Great Kids. Great Music.
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Photo credit: Jonathan Armstrong